Daughter gets in the ring to honor dad killed on 9/11

Jennie Nedell, left, and Christy Tyquienqco exchange kicks Jennie Nedell, left, and Christy Tyquienqco exchange kicks during the USKBA and WPKO World Welterweight Championship at Overlook Beach in Babylon. Photo Credit: John Dunn

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At first glance, kickboxing may not seem to have anything to do with a 9/11 memorial. But for one Lindenhurst woman, a kickboxing tournament has become a unique way to honor her late father.

Jennie Nedell, 31, lost her father Laurence Nedell on Sept. 11, 2001.

The 52-year-old employee of Aon Corp. was last seen helping an elderly man in Tower Two.

In the weeks before he died, father and daughter had started taking kickboxing lessons together. Jennie Nedell kept it up, and Sunday was the star attraction at a 13-bout kickboxing and martial arts event at Overlook Beach in Babylon.

The proceeds from the tournament were to go to the beachside 9/11 memorial in the Town of Babylon.

"It just means so much more than any fight," Nedell said before her match. "I'm honoring my father."

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Nedell, who works at MacArthur Airport, said it was years before she felt able to contribute to the memorial, which includes an etching of her father's portrait, alongside poems and a medal that loved ones had left for him. But now she hopes the tournament will be a way to fund the upkeep of the site, which is mostly paid for through donations, although Town of Babylon employees are also sent in to help maintain the property.

Her father, Nedell said, would be proud.

"It's why the sun is shining down - he's happy," she said.

Around the ring, volunteers grilled hamburgers and swirled cotton candy around paper cones as the crowd of about 300 watched amateur boxers, kickboxers and Muay Thai fighters battle.

Jennie Nedell's mother, Lorraine Nedell, 59, of Lindenhurst, watched, wearing a T-shirt printed with her husband's photo. She said it is difficult to watch her daughter go into the ring and grapple with an opponent - especially when she's on the receiving end of a kick. But, Lorraine Nedell said, "she did kickboxing with her dad. This is her way of honoring him."

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